10 Days of Oscars: Beasts of the Southern Wild
BY: DIANA SANGLAB
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” is heart-warming, beautiful and just plain cute. The film is more about the feeling and the tones rather than the plot itself, as what makes “Beasts of the Southern Wild” shine are the performances of the actors and its tendency to really pull at the heartstrings. Six-year-old Hushpuppy (Quvenzhane Wallis) lives on the wrong side of a levee in the Louisiana bayou affectionately dubbed the “Bathtub” with her terminally ill, alcoholic father, Wink (Dwight Henry). Her mother had left the two of them, but she wants to find out where she went.
Hushpuppy and her father may live together, but they both have separate homes to themselves. This means that she often cooks her own food, and tends to her multiple pets that can communicate with her through their heartbeats.
It doesn't help that Wink often disappears for periods of time, and when he gets drunk, he often yells at his young daughter—but Hushpuppy isn't one to let anyone get the better of her as during one scene, she yells back at her dad and hits him out of frustration.
However, our young heroine and her father have bigger problems than just their own familial problems. The Bathtub is under threat from a huge storm that starts to submerge the town—which, in turn, has caused for a herd of aurochs toward their way.
The beautiful cinematography and editing allows for the audience to remember what it's like to have an open and young mind again—to remember the days of youth and to have a wild imagination with its soft and naturally nostalgic tones.
The audience may go in with some expectations to watch the film as they would any other film, but soon realizes that they have to let go of normal logic, and to appreciate Hushpuppy's vivid and expressive way of thinking.
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” could have simply just been about a small community coming together to brace through a difficult storm, but when the events are put under the eyes of Hushpuppy, the tone of the film changes completely, and makes it an even more mystical experience.
Wallis was only six years old during filming, but her strong performance makes the film work exactly how it needed to be, and is most definitely one of the highlights of the film. She has since become the youngest actress to be nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards, but when pit against, her chances of winning the Best Actress award slims. However, the nomination itself was well-deserved as she did a superb job.
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” might not win the coveted Best Motion Picture of the Year award for first time director Benh Zeitlin since the film is surreal and out of the norm for what usually wins, but it is definitely a memorable film of 2012.Benh Zeitlin since the film is surreal and out of the norm for what usually wins, but it is definitely a memorable film of 2012.